Category Archives: CUIBE Competition

Ahlers Fellow Jon Bocketti: Vortex Global Takes Second Place at the 2016 CUIBE Case Competition

Jon Bocketti, who is an Ahler’s Center Fellow, was a participant in this year’s CUIBE Case Competition held in Boston, Massachusetts and the team placed SECOND overall! Read on to find out more about his experience.

The CUIBE International Business Case Competition hosted by Northeastern University proved to be one of the most educational and applicable experiences I have participated in while at USD. Held in Boston, Massachusetts, this year’s competition brought in talented students from 16 schools from all around the country all trying to solve the challenging case.

Below I’ve provided 3 tips on how to take advantage of the trip and competition:

STEP 1: Explore Boston

Being from the Northeast, arriving in Boston and feeling the cool crisp air, all while seeing the fall foliage only added to my excitement. Arriving on Wednesday, November 2nd, we went out to the North End for a delicious Italian dinner. The quaint cozy feel of the restaurant solidified we were no longer in San Diego. A long day of travel, a stomach full of pasta and meatballs, and a scenic walk back to our hotel meant for an early bed time. The next day, we had all day to explore the city of Boston. Some of our stops included the harbor district and Quincy market. On the Sunday following the competition, I went to the Top of the Hub, located on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building. Here, you could see all of Boston. Boston has a lot of history and provided the team with inspiration for our case analysis.

STEP 2: Work Collaboratively

When I first met my other team members, we discussed what we wanted to get out of the competition and how we personally would contribute to the team. We all wanted to put in our best effort, but also have a good time. We planned a dinner to serve as an icebreaker to get to know each other outside of the competition mindset. Before heading to Boston, the team was given a practice case. We met a few times to come up with a solution and presented it to two different panels of judges consisting of USD faculty. This was a great experience within itself, because we were able to garner real feedback without the pressure of the competition or getting graded. During the first night of the competition, we took time to read the case individually and came up with our own ideas on how to solve the challenging case. We then came together to discuss our ideas and concerns of the case. To avoid group-think and make sure that all of our ideas were heard, we decided to have a brainstorming session. During this brainstorming session, all ideas, no matter how crazy, were written down with no objections. This is where I attribute most of our success. To finish the night, we reviewed our brainstorming ideas list. The objective of the review was to be critical, but also constructive, and to see how these ideas could be incorporated into our overall plan. While we were working, we wanted to make sure that each team member was on board with the plan and understood every aspect of the plan. This proved to ensure that during our presentation and the Q&A section, we were all confident with every aspect of our plan.

STEP 3: Have Fun

One of the most important aspects for me was to have fun. Although this competition was the perfect outlet to focus my natural competitive personality, I wanted to have fun in the process, and make sure the whole team was in good spirits. Throughout the analysis, and even right before the presentations, we would have dance breaks just to loosen up and relieve some stress. One of my favorite parts was getting to know the other students that were also competing. After the first round of presentations, it was announced our team had moved onto the final four. During the closing ceremony, I thought to myself that no matter what place we got, I could say that we had tried our hardest and had fun in the process … winning second was just the cherry on top.

Overall, I had the best time and am truly grateful for this experience.

To check out more student experiences, please visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Ahlers Fellow Kayla Meijer: The Challenge & Reward of the CUIBE Case Competition

“The Northeastern CUIBE International Case Competition was by far the best thing I have ever done in my undergraduate career. It was extremely challenging, intimidating, and overwhelming, but that was all outweighed by the fun, excitement, and reward for our hard work during the trip.

When I was a freshman at USD, I was a member of the International Business Club. Upon hearing about CUIBE, I knew right away it was something I wanted to do, mostly because it was in my hometown of Boston, MA. I applied knowing full well that I wouldn’t be selected because I had not taken the necessary upper division courses and was far too inexperienced. However, I was hoping that whomever was reading my application would see that CUIBE was definitely something I was passionate about and truly wanted to do. When sophomore year came around, I applied again, and then again my junior year, knowing I wouldn’t be chosen but still hoping that my persistence was being noted and would eventually pay off.

I pushed myself to take the classes I needed to become eligible for CUIBE, to gain more knowledge in my upper division classes, and to become involved with the Ahlers Center. By the time the CUIBE application came around this year, I was finally ready. I worked hard on my application for the fourth and final time, and submitted it with a touch of anxiety, knowing that it was a very competitive opportunity. Although I felt much more confident about my submission at the time, I still had some nervousness that I might not be selected for the one undergrad opportunity I had been wanting for my entire time at USD.

On September 25 – arguably one of the most exciting days of my life – I received an email from the Ahlers Center and saw the first word: “Congratulations.” I was finally going to go to the CUIBE competition and complete one of my long time goals. Needless to say, I did a “happy dance” and probably embarrassed myself publicly. Laura Glennie, Michael Burrafato, and Enrique Contreras were the others selected to be in the competition and were my new teammates for this exciting ride.

I knew I was in for a tough few months, filled with practice and uncertainty, but when November 4th rolled around I was ecstatic. We got into Boston that Wednesday night on the 4th, and we were able to grab dinner and do a little exploration of the city before we went to bed. The next day, we had almost the entire day to explore the city, which was incredible and allowed us to relax before things really got interesting. We were given the case that night at a banquet with the rest of the teams and spent a few hours mapping out a game plan for Friday, which was our day of incredibly hard work.

We had until Friday (less than 24 hours) to decide what we wanted to suggest as consultants, create a thorough PowerPoint and strategy, and practice the presentation. We worked hard all day, stopping only for a short lunch at the delicious Union Oyster House in the North End of the city. We were able to finish and have time to sleep (some groups did not even get this luxury!). The next day, none of us could decide if it was anxiety or excitement we were feeling before our presentations. It quickly turned out to be pure excitement; after a lot of practice, we felt very confident about what we had to share with the highly esteemed judges. We presented to two different sets of judges, once in the morning and then again in the afternoon with lunch served in between.

On Saturday evening, the awards ceremony and networking reception was held in the hotel where everyone involved in the competition was staying. We got to know our competitors, the judges, and the team advisors, finding out where they were from and how they felt about the trip. We were then asked to take our seats for the awards ceremony.

They started with the 3rd place teams, which turned out to have come to a tie. One of the 3rd place teams happened to be another Southern California team from San Diego State University. Knowing that we didn’t get 3rd meant we did really well or we didn’t place at all – I thought my heart was going to pound out of my ears. In fact, my heart was pounding so loudly that I barely did hear the next name announced: 2nd place was the University of San Diego!

There aren’t words to describe the type of excitement and happiness we all were feeling in that moment. I felt like I was floating as we walked to the front of the room to receive our plaque and our “Winner” snapback hats (kind of a unique prize, but we liked them regardless!) and to get our picture taken. It was the perfect ending to make all of our hard work and stress pay off, and to show off the incredible talent that comes from the International Business program at USD. For me, it had an extra special touch because I had not only achieved my goal of going to CUIBE, but thanks to the caliber of my team and the education we are all receiving at USD, I was also a part of winning 2nd place at the competition of my dreams.”

Read more about our Ahlers Center Fellows on the Fellowship blog page!  For information about applying for this Fellowship program, contact Danielle Levanetz.

Northeastern’s CUIBE Case Competition – Experience Told by a Student


Written by Molly Strasser, International Business and Computer Science double major.

When was the last time you had the opportunity to go across the country to compete with other students at leading business schools? That is the exact opportunity that I, along with three other USD IB majors and minors received this semester when we represented USD in Northeastern’s CUIBE case competition (pronounced Q-bee). At this point you may be wondering, just like I was about 8 months ago, what does CUIBE stand for? CUIBE stands for Consortium of Undergraduate International Business Education.

Northeastern’s CUIBE case competition ran as follows: every school had a team of 4 students and there were 16 teams competing from across the country; every team received the same case study (yes, like the Harvard Business Review ones you use in class), and we were given 24 hours to come up with a solution to the challenge presented in the case and create a PowerPoint and 15 minute presentation. We then had from 10:00 pm the night when the case was due, to 7:45 am the next morning when we were required to check in at Northeastern to give our presentation, to sleep, eat, and practice our presentation. After giving your presentation to the ‘Board of Directors’ of the company the 4 finalists were announced and everyone was given the chance to go watch their presentations.

Boston's North End District

Boston’s North End District

The experience was intense but very fulfilling. The team was able to work with leading professors in the Business School during our practice pre-competition. Having access to these professors in such an intimate environment was invaluable to my intellectual growth. Getting to know other high achieving and involved students in the International Business major and minor was also a great experience. Since the team was not limited to students of a particular year, our team consisted of a Junior Finance major, IB minor, two Senior IB majors, and myself, an IB, Computer Science double major. While the seniors had a passing knowledge of each other, none of us knew each other very well. By the end of the experience though we had all bonded over late nights, high pressure, and city exploration.

As the competition was all the way across the country we arrived the night before the welcome dinner and had essentially a whole day to explore Boston. We were also able to go out to dinner as just the team and Erin the night we arrived which was a great way to relax after a long day of traveling. The boys saw who could eat more of their huge seafood plates, and the rest of us just enjoyed the delicious Italian food. We got to watch game 7 of the World Series in the presence of non-Giants fans, a first in my life. It got a tad awkward being the only ones to be screaming yes when everyone else was groaning. Since it was October, Boston was the perfect picture of fall and (thankfully) wasn’t too cold. Basically perfect touring weather, and a nice break from San Diego’s reliable warmth and sun. All the teams from the East Coast were envious of all the West Coast schools and their weather.


Chloe Spears and Molly Strasser (right) being tourists in Boston.

Getting to meet students from other schools around the country was another highlight of the competition. While we were all competing with each other that was a quick 24 hours of work and before and after that everyone was able to socialize. Hearing about other’s experiences at school and just getting to meet others with similar interests made the whole competition that much more fun. After the competition Northeastern arranged a closing dinner and activity at the Boston Tea Party museum. We got a tour of a replication boat as well as a reenactment of the events on that historic night. The dinner was fabulous and after all the students went out together, overall a perfect ending to the trip.

The CUIBE closing dinner

The CUIBE closing dinner